This is a guest blog by our Intern Queen Campus Ambassador Jessica Noonan from American University.
As a second semester Junior I’m closer to the end of my college career than the beginning of it, and that’s a scary thought. I’m feeling the pressure to get an amazing summer internship, raise my GPA by paying attention in classes that are relevant to my career, hold leadership roles in my extracurricular activities and manage a college social life as the countdown nears till my final semesters.
So far I’ve done well in completing the tasks at hand, but looking back I wish I could have told my freshman self what I know now.
- You’re never too young to network – As a Junior I now know of the amazing opportunities for career exploration. My career center hosts numerous industry days and a number of information sessions throughout the year; it’s a great way to explore a field you’re interested in. Even if you don’t qualify for the positions available, you can network and exchange contact information for future opportunities.
- Applying for a position can never hurt – I wish I had applied to internships the summer after my freshman year to gain experience early on. Even if you don’t get the internships you’ve gained application and interview experience to apply in the future. If you get the internship you’re building your resume and can boast that you have another year of experience in the field.
- Plan out your major requirements early on – I planned out how I was going to get a dual degree, but at the start of last semester I found out I needed to take 20 more credits than I had originally thought. Even if you think you know all the requirements meet with your advisor to discuss your plan and make sure you’re on the right track to graduate on time. Meeting with your advisor also reassures whether or not you want to pursue that degree or explore another option.
- Meet with a career advisor – Looking back I didn’t quite understand how to make a resume and remember submitting a paragraph style one about my experiences to a club. What I should have done is gotten my resume critiqued, or in my case built, early on. ESPECIALLY do this if you plan on applying for an internship. Now, my career center has become my greatest resource and a key to my success.
- Get involved – Perhaps freshman year you won’t gain the leadership roles you held in high school, but you can get to know the people in those leadership roles. Choose a club that you see growth in. I chose to rush a business fraternity my sophomore year and since have gained valuable experience that I use on a daily basis. Find what’s a right fit for you and how you can apply it to your resume.
- Stay organized – Organization has been a key to balancing my hectic schedule. Each activity holds it’s own color. Try using the iCal if you own a Mac it will sync with your iPod, or you can create it on your iPod. With my Droid I’ve found Google Calender to be extremely valuable because I can view and edit it on every computer and it will automatically show up on my phone. Use technology to your advantage.
- Make a college goal list – Where do you want to be when you graduate? What do you want to take away from your time here? I know that I want to gain experience to pursue my degree in marketing communications, but I also want to leave with lifelong friends. Find a balance between your activities to reach that ultimate goal.
As a freshman, or even as a sophomore, it’s easy to get caught up in college social scenes and making new friends, especially with inspiring songs like “I love College,” but keep in mind that life is a matter of balance. So get organized, remember your goals and graduate a college success story.